With all of the weekends in the year now out of the way, we can celebrate and congratulate Phil Penrose on coming out top of the BGA Weekend Height Ladder for 2013.
But we should also celebrate the fact that Highland GC has 5 pilots in the top 50 on this ladder (more than any other club)!
Here's to lots of great wave climbs and more success for everyone flying from Easterton in 2014.
Ho ho ho! Aviation was committed today, with the few souls who braved the chill finding slivers of weak wavy kind of lift around the Rothes Glen and over Rothes/Craigellachie area. Thanks to Dave Kelly and latterly also Ian Lane for the tows.
Aviation was ALSO committed on Boxing Day, though most of the rest of the month has been too windy, rainy, short-handed or generally horrible for flying.
Let's see if we can repeat last New Year's adventure and fly on Wednesday (though the forecasters might have something to say about that).
In the meantime, from all at HGC - to all of our friends, members, visitors and FB "likers" - happy landings for 2014 and have a great holiday!
Saturday was too windy for flying - nearly too windy for standing up! But we had a new keen young member (Jack) sign up for training.
Sunday was much calmer - really smooth tows - but not a great deal of lift around. That didn't stop Ian T from taking JYC away for 2.5 hours, flying the ridge in half to one knot of ridge lift. Most on site had half an hour or more (Bruce, Chris, Colin, Roger). Good training day for Tad and young Stuart Bright, ably prompted by Trevor. And thanks to Dave for the tows.
Meanwhile Ian Bright took the Jabiru over to Dornoch, followed by Stuart N and Alexander in the floater.
Junior de-rigged for its annual, 664 packed away in its box for the trip south in a couple of weeks.
And an appealing sunset to round it all off.
We have had some soaring over the past month, but not a great deal out of the ordinary for this time of year.
No great wave days and a few, like today, where the air is dead and it's great for circuit training. Simon benefited from that today and made good progress on his winch launching with Mike Black in the back seat.
Bruce also polished off a good deal of dust - if not rust - with a couple of winch checks and then took 664 for his first winch launch in it - about time after it's been on site for 3 months!
Yesterday, on the other hand, was also a bit special. John C finished off his navex and field landings with Robert and - subject to the paperwork going through - now has his XC endorsement. The shackles are off!
Bruce turned the ugly duckling trailer for 664 into a presentable swan with the aid of Mike L's power washer. Surprisingly, the wheel arches turned out to be pale grey and not black!
Phil landed out in 753 after a couple of hours away but kept it convenient by doing so in the Rothes Glen.
Thanks to Roger and John T for a slick retrieve.
At last I've a bit of spare time to say something about our recent wave week.
I think it proved to be a success, even though we only had 2 or 3 good flying days, plus some flying on the weekends at either end.
The best day, by a long way, was the Wednesday, when almost everyone (i.e. everyone except me!) who launched managed to find wave climbs to 10,000' and more down the Spey valley in S or SE wave. Good long flights for 4 or 5 pilots.
There was wave around on some other days, but generally quite weak and ill-defined, so the climbs were not so dramatic.
It was great to see 'guests' Dave (and Jacquie) Webster over from Ulster and Will Amor, who took a week's leave to come up from his base at Leaming and filled his boots in R67.
We also fitted in a TM flight for (the Rev.) Tad Turski, who promptly took out membership and will be our latest student recruit.
Many thanks to Ian L, Angie, Robert and Stuart for tugging duties, even though Ian's day turned out to be a non-starter for flying.
On Friday, we entertained senior brass from RAF Lossiemouth, who all seemed to enjoy their visit. Thanks to all the Fulmar team (especially Tony) for organising and supporting this.
Saturday was one for those days when flying looks good, but few people around to make it happen. Simon got away solo in the Junior for a couple of flights.
On Sunday, he used this to brilliant effect. On his 4th flight in the Junior, he bagged his Silver height with a climb to 8,400'.
Sunday was a "day of days", with stonking wave going as high as you wanted to dare. Bruce bagged Gold height and would have had a 100 km triangle as well, but for a slight deficit of 100 m or so at Keith. Never mind - plenty more days to play with!
Andy and Phil were the ones who dared, with Andy popping up to 19,000' near Lochindorb and Phil taking 753 to 16,000' near Braemar and cementing his well-deserved place at the top of the BGA height ladders.
Young Christopher had 2 amazing wave flights with Robert and Angie, reaching 7,000' and 8,000', while his mum waited in trepidation on the ground.
Martin rounded off the day with a climb to 12,000 ft in the K21 and here's a photo of the spectacular cloudscape as the sun started to go down.
Cracker of a day today, with wave set up over the Spey valley. Around 20 flights, and probably averaging between 2 and 3 hours. Our youngest new recruit, Christopher, had his first wave flight with Angie and came back beaming!
Wave a bit broken up and inconsistent, but Geddes got as far as Rannoch, Ian T to Glenfiddich Lodge and Bruce to Keith and Dallas.
Things shaping up nicely for our wave week from 14 October.
A weekend characterised by strong - often very strong - W to SW wind, making for sporting tows and approaches!
On Saturday we had around a dozen flights, though no-one got any really long soaring flights. the day got better as it went on.
Not quite the bumper Sunday that was predicted, but it was still good enough for most of those who flew to get into wave up to 8,000 or 9,000 feet. Geddes flew a superb 300+ and Phil stamped his authority on the BGA height ladders again. John and Simon enjoyed the best of the local wave with 90 minutes or so in the K21 late in the afternoon.
All the TMs seemed very pleased with the great visibility and sunny weather.
The motor glider is almost back online again.
Today was a complete wash-out, though not as windy as forecast. Yesterday was a patchy day; we had showers moving through for most of the day. Despite that, we ended up with a full log sheet of flights. Highlights were Billy F getting an hour and a half in JCE before heading back to hotter Angolan climes and John C finishing off all the flying for his Bronze. Bruce discovered that 664 doesn't go down like a stone Astir when it rains. Ian B took Mrs B off to Orkney for lunch in the Jabiru and Richard PARG arrived back from displaying his Pitts at the shinty cup final. Graham had his first shots at tugging single-seaters.
3 TM flights included a young brother and sister, both of whom came back with big smiles on their faces, slightly to their parents' despair!
K21, Duo, Junior, Oly, Astir, LS7 and Cirrus all had good soaring flights.
The motor-floater was reassmbled late in the afternoon with lots of help from anyone who could hold or wiggle a wing.
And Martin and John got the winch going again after its flat battery problems.
Thanks to Ian and Stuart for the tows.
How could things get better than Ian's win yesterday? Well, when nearly everyone who takes a launch gets over an hour in the thermals up to 5,000' and above is a good start!
3 TMs as well, one from a "flying" family, and she seemed keen to come back.
Afternoon better than the morning, with longer flights for Graham, Bruce, Ian T and Colin T (his longest so far in the Junior).
We haven't had such a good thermal day for weeks. Great fun!
Team Easterton returned from the UK Mountain Soaring Championships at Aboyne with several successes under their collective belt.
Ian Tait, flying the Acro with dad Robert along for company, won the week\'s overall competition in style - a remarkable achievement from Ian in his first competition, just after he had completed his Bronze and before gaining his cross-country endorsement. After this exploit, that should be a mere formality. And he did it in the Acro, which is not - ahem - noted for its high performance. Well done, Ian!
Stuart Naylor, flying the Duo Discus with Billy Fisher and Chris Gill alternating as crew, determinedly took the overall height gain trophy to finish 9th overall.
Phil Penrose in the LS7 finished 4th overall.
A great set of results for the whole team.
Full details, photographs and results at UKMSC web site
We hosted around 20 members of the Moray Coast Motorcycle Club today, nearly all of whom flew - some more than once.
A very unpromising start, with the ridge shrouded in mist, but it started to clear up by noon and we punted them off on the winch, with mainly just 4 or 5 minute circuits. They were unfazed by this and just kept coming, so we ended up having the busiest day the club has seen for many months. 45 flights all told, with a few power flights making up the numbers. Richard Pargeter went and did his thing in Ladybank, Fife. Stuart got Tony flying the Eurofox and Robert got the Jabiru up in the air after its annual.
Huge thanks to Mike B and John T for doing the bulk of the flying, ably assisted by Trevor and Stuart towards the end of the day. Thanks also to John C for liaising with MCMC and setting up the day, Roger and Mark for winch driving.
Ian Tait also finished off the flights he had to do for his Bronze with Geddes and Phil got his reward for helping Bruce out in fetching the Cirrus up from Wales with a hangar flight in the "new" 664 as things were winding down.
Not the greatest weekend's flying ever. With a howling crosswind, no flying on Saturday, but work was done on the LS7 and Motor Falke. Sunday was better, with a strong wind straight down the strip. Robert and Iain flew to Norfolk in the Eurofox to bring the Jabiru home after repairs, so Jim got the winch out and dusted it down for a day's winch launching. Geoff Palmer, re-joining after a year away from flying, and Ken Buckingham, both re-soloed in the K21. The LS7 was rigged and annual maintenance work on it completed; a new radio was installed in the Acro; and Bruce's new acquisition, a Cirrus, made its first appearance and maiden flight at Easterton.
The ICL results are out!
Day 2 results
Pundits: Geddes Chalmers (Highland) 53.7 km; Stuart Naylor (Fulmar) 33.9 km; Roy Wilson (Deeside) 29.8 km; Peter Thomson (Cairngorm) 23.1 km; Santiago Cervantes (SGU) 7.2 km
Intermediates: Mike Black (Fulmar) 68.4 km; Bill Anderson (Cairngorm) 62 km; Phil Penrose (Highland) 8.4 km
Novices: Matt Graeme-McMurdoch (Fulmar) 16.6 km; Andy Farr (Cairngorm) 3.8 km; Martin Phillimore (SGU) 0.9 km; Mark Norton (Highland) 0.4 km
The points tallies are
Day 1: Deeside 254; Fulmar 2302; SGU 143; Highland 110; Cairngorm 44
Day 2: Fulmar 342; Highland 295; Cairngorm 271; Deeside 135; SGU 37
Totals: Fulmar 544; Highland 405; Deeside 389; Cairngorm 315; SGU 180
Well done to all participants, and here's to 2014 at Feshie and Aboyne.
The forecast was very unpromising, with a threat of rain. Met man John suggested at briefing that we should have briefed at 5 and launched at 6 in the morning to have any chance of a task. However there was a glimmer of hope, and things certainly looked better for today than they had last night. So tasks were set for the three classes, and the grid was launched. There were nothing like as many relights as yesterday, but conditions did gradually deteriorate and no-one actually completed their task, though there were some valiant efforts. One glider landed out at Aldunie in the Cabrach, and three at Aboyne. The rain set in in earnest as the last of these was being towed back behind the Eurofox, but both tug and glider landed safely. "At least the Astir is well washed", was overheard in the hangar. Traces were downloaded, and we await the final results with bated breath.
Well, that was a surprising day! Clagged over in the morning, but patience, as my old Mum used to say, is its own reward. From mid afternoon, Phil, Angie, Bruce, Mike L, Roger, and Robert (sorry if I missed anyone) all connected with weak but positive southwest wave (a bit surprising, considering the ground wind was north with a bit of west in it). Climbs to between 6,500 and 7,000 feet in the Spey valley.
And great to have visits from Rick Jones (working at Lossie) and Denis Shepherd, who had a good flight with Angie.
The flying week is going well, with the earlier part of the week being extremely good. Just wish I'd organised a bit more tuggie back-up! However, it was great to see our esteemed treasurer re-soloing in the Junior yesterday, and a visitor from Wales, Frank Field, had his first aerotow experiences with Mike B.
A bit too hot and a bit dead in terms of lift yesterday (blue all day), with today looking similar, but maybe better prospects for the weekend once the cold front goes through.
Isn't it amazing what a pleasant, warm, slightly bouyant sky will do? Just about everything that could fly was flying today, with winch and tows both going strong. Don't know that anyone got very far, but it was just so nice to have a decent climate! Stuart had his first flight in the K6 for nearly a year. Simon is forging steady progress towards solo. And rumours of a possible incoming Dart. Excellent day all round.
Another reasonable, if average, sort of weekend gone by, with some soaring on both days but sae breeze creeping in to kill of most of the lift anywhere near the club later on Sunday. Great to see young Kieran helping out and learning fast, on his third visit to the club, as well as cycling 5 miles to get there! And Ian is starting to enjoy his flying in JoYCe.
Preparations also being made for next weekend's ICL at Portmoak, assuming the weather gods decide to smile on it.
What a great day on Saturday! Sky bouncing with blue thermals at 4-8 kts up to over 6000 feet, if you could find them and stay in them, and all of the toys out of the hangar - quite a while since that last happened !
Check out the new weather page on our website! Up to the minute WX details (well, up to 5 minutes ago) and no need to log in - just go to Members > Weather. Well done John
A cracker of a day, right enough, but maybe not 1000k territory. Amazing wave cycling at various times of the day with big blue holes.
Watch out world - there's another Tait on the block! Ian is claiming Gold height, pulling off tow at 1500' and popping up like a cork in a bottle to 14,000' inside 45 minutes. Went for his 5 hours but cut short when a rattling sound materialised somewhere behind him. Shame, but smart choice, as it proved to be a bit of loose tape. Still, nearly 4 hours gave him his longest solo flight yet and a great omen for the next attempt. Youngest gold height in the UK at 15? Phil also logged a height claim in 753 and John T in P50. Other flights up to 9,000' or 10,000'.
Wicked turbulence and rotor at low levels made for some distinctly sporting tows, but the EuroFox coped admirably.
Even Stuart, last flight, took the motor glider to 6000' engine off and had a glide back to base from Mulben.
More like this please!!
Wood rules!! Bruce in Pirat 664 and Mark in Oly ELS out-soared the plastic, each with a couple of hours in what turned out - contrary to the forecast - to be a booming, active sky. Cloudbase 4200' to 4500' and 5-6 kt thermals, with tons of sink around as well. And VERY bumpy below about 2000'. Thanks to Robert for launches.
Absolutely stonking wave day today, with the star being John Thomson, who filled his boots for 5 hours and got his gold height - but this time with a logger switched on! - at 18000' plus. At least half a dozen other flights to 11000' or 12000'. 2 US visitors from Lossie, there for Joint Warrior, had great intro flights with Robert. And Rhian Evans, an RSPB sea eagle lady, had a couple of hours in the floater with Stuart, engine off up to 11000' plus, tracking tagged sea eagles around the Cairngorms.
More days like this, please!
We had a great day's soaring yesterday in 6 kt thermals and some patchy wave over the Spey valley. Phil and Geddes both posted their flights on the ladder. Also welcomed Matt Graeme-McMurdoch, an Ass Cat new member for Fulmar, and Colin Thomas took another couple of steps towards converting to the Junior. Re-gel work continues on the K21 (thanks Mike L !) Today, an instructors' meeting but no flying, due to a howling south crosswind that was well beyond limits.
Well, that was a very successful spring gliding week. Lots of flights flown, distance covered and experience gained. Among the highlights: Ian Tait soloing in R67, John Campbell having his longest flight in the Junior and our only visiting pilot - our old pal Andy Vidion - getting more than 16 hours over the week in his DG303. We can cope with more visitors in weeks like these!
4 days of flying out of the 5 (or 7 from 9 if you include the weekends), plus a new member in Simon Bachelor, who had his TM flight a week past Sunday and was back out for his first training slot on Saturday, keen as mustard and smiling all day long.
On Saturday, R1 got finished off in the workshop, signed off, rigged, tested and de-rigged into its trailer, ready for its visit to Sisteron with the Army boys.
Another fab day today. We're really making the most of this flying week! Photo from John C, who had 2 hours 20 in the Junior before his frozen extremities forced him back down. Bronze leg in the bag, lead feet in the cockpit!
753, Jimmy, R67 and 770 lined up and ready to go, with the Jabby and motor floater in the background.
Turned into a tricky boomer in places today, with cloudbase varying between a grumpy 2600' and a chirpy 4000' within 10 miles of the site. Lots of toys out, including 664/s first flight of the year and John C notching up his 100th flight since he started. More of the same tomorrow? Here's hoping!
Another thermic day, though mostly blue thermals. Lots of hours logged again, but bloomin' cold! Quite strong sun kicked off thermals up to 7 kts in places (or that was the best we saw) with cloudbase at about 4,500'-4,700'. A great start to the Spring week !
Above Ben Rinnes today, looking north to the Moray Firth from about 3,600'.
The start to our Spring flying week today (well, yesterday, but there were only a couple of flights then). Lots of flying and hours notched up in the first consistent day of Spring thermals, with most getting at least an hour or two and up to 4.5 hours (Phil AGAIN!).
Quite a large proportion of wood in the sky, with the Oly and the K6 doing their thing, alongside LS7, Junior, Astir and Acro. Andy Vidion a welcome visitor up from TIB with this DG 300 and the forecast looks much the same for the rest of the week.
Delighted to report that the new HGC website is up and running. Congratulations to John Campbell who put this together. Same address as before - www.highglide.co.uk - you may have to clear your cache to see the new site and, if you do, I hope it's not too painful!
We're about to bid farewell to our long-serving workhorse, Supermunk G-BCSA, with a plan to ferry it down to Halton tomorrow or as soon as weather allows.
Great pic of some of the tuggies who've enjoyed flying it so much over the years
Left to Right: Ian Lane, Dave Kelly, Robert Tait, Alexander Naylor, Angie Veitch, Stuart Naylor, Anne Burgess
Well attended AGM last night, with terrific food and chat afterwards. And the prizes go to [drum roll...]
As the BGA website reports today, our very own Anne Burgess has been awarded a Royal Aero Club Certificate of Merit, for all her work as club treasurer over aeons and her amazing skill, tact and diplomacy as a scorer / control person during ICL and other meetings and UKMSC.
Congratulations from all at HGC!
Snow (and more and more of it!) was pretty much the tale for February, but we managed to make the best of it - when we could actually drive into the site! - by getting on with maintenance and general fettling for the new season. Hardly any flying committed, and more a question of minimising and sorting out any damage to trailers and caravans. The board battled through the snow to meet early in the month and preparations got under way for the AGM in March. The weather stayed bitingly cold, with strong winds and of course the snow cover effectively stopping play.
For the first time since 2003 we flew on New Year's day and soared even if was only on the ridge.
We then flew on the next 5 days with some of the best winter wave we've had for years. On the 2nd Martin K and Ian T flew the K21 for the best part of 2 hours, initially in weak wave up to nearly 4,000 ft but then dropping back on to the ridge where they easily maintained 2,000 feet in very smooth lift. Colin H joined them on the ridge in the Junior and Martin managed to grab a few photos from the back of the K21. On the 3rd and 4th the wave really got going with Phil getting to 19,000 feet in the LS7 and quite a few other climbs above 10,000 ft too.
On Saturday 5th almost every club and private glider was in the wave with many getting away from a short tow over Glenlatterach. The highest climb was to 13,000 feet with quite a few cross country kilometres flown the most notable being a trip by Trevor C and John C to Feshie and back in the K-21. Phil in the LS7 and Geddes in the LS8 set out on an ambitious cross country task. Phil ended up scaring the grouse on Ben Rinnes but did manage to scrape away eventually and get home while Geddes did rather better. One of the really surprising things was that the air temperature was still above freezing at 9,000 feet!
Long may it continue!